Laura Kikauka

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Laura Kikauka
Born1963 (age 58–59)
Known forElectronic Art
Notable work
Them Fuckin' Robots

Laura Kikauka (born 1963, Hamilton, Ontario) is a Canadian installation and performance artist. Kikauka is known for her sculptural installations and performances incorporating found objects and electronics.

Career and work[edit]

Kikauka is known for functioning hand-etched electronic circuits. Her aesthetic has been described as kitsch, while also being compared to self-organizing systems.[1] She has lived and worked in New York City, and for nearly two decades in Berlin. She currently works in Ontario on her long-term project the Funny Farm.[2]

Kikauka's 1996 piece Hairbrain 2000 presented an early "virtual reality" headset based on an analog system of electronic relays activated by ball bearings as the viewer moved their head.[3]

Her 1988 performance collaboration with artist Norman White, Them Fuckin' Robots involved two robots, a "female" one by Kikauka and a "male" one by White. Both robots were assembled and activated in a single day in front of an audience.[4] Kikauka's robot was an abstract, cloud-like assemblage hanging from the ceiling, powered by an electronic sequencer that activated various combinations of found objects. Her robot produced electromagnetic fields that charged the anthropomorphic "male" robot's capacitor, resulting in an eventual robot orgasm.[5]

Kikauka has built two long-term found object installations, both titled Funny Farm, in her homes in Meaford, Ontario, and Berlin, Germany.[6] She has two permanent installations in Germany: one at the Wolfsburg Science Museum in Wolfsburg, Germany, the other at the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen in Berlin.[7]

With her long-term partner Gordon Monahan, Kikauka organizes the annual Electric Eclectics festival in Ontario.[2] Performers have included artist Tony Conrad, theremin player Dorit Chrysler, artist John Kilduff, electronic music pioneer Suzanne Ciani, Mary Margaret O'Hara and the Nihilist Spasm Band.[8]

Notable exhibitions and performances[edit]

  • FOR THE LOVE OF GAUD/ Damien's Worst (2008/2009). Berlin, Germany/Toronto, Ontario.
  • Celebration of Failure (2009). SpaceX, Exeter, England.
  • Exactly the Same, but Completely Different (2004). The Power Plant, Toronto.
  • Tune In, Turn On (1997). YYZ, Toronto, Canada
  • Barbie Bumps her Head (1994). Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin
  • Machine Storm (1994). Kampnagel, Hamburg, Germany
  • The Impacted Nectarine Vexations of Moldy Vinyl Reincarnations (1992). Gargoyle Mechanique, New York City.
  • Tinkerer's Ball (1991). The Exploratorium, San Francisco, California.
  • 5 Horen (1988) performance with Hans Peter Kuhn. Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria.


  1. ^ Conrad, Tony (Summer 2007). "A Theory of Emergence". C: International Contemporary Art. No. 94. pp. 10–21. ProQuest 215540397.
  2. ^ a b de Picciotto, Danielle (6 February 2018). "Laura Kikauka: "Rediscovering the art of slowing down"". Kaput Mag. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  3. ^ "Leonardo Gallery: Perverting Technological Correctness". MIT Press. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  4. ^ Arthur Kroker; Marilouise Kroker (5 November 2013). Critical Digital Studies: A Reader, Second Edition. University of Toronto Press. pp. 485–. ISBN 978-1-4426-1466-6.
  5. ^ Wilson, Stephen (2002). Information arts : intersections of art, science, and technology (1st paperback ed.). Cambridge, Mass. ; London: MIT. pp. 444–445. ISBN 9780262731584.
  6. ^ Linden, Liz (2006). The Best Surprise is No Surprise. JRP Ringier. ISBN 978-3-905770-05-6.[page needed]
  7. ^ Langill, Caroline (2009). "Shifting Polarities : Interview with Laura Kikauka". Fondation Langlois. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  8. ^ Goddard, Peter (6 August 2007). "Funny Farm fest seriously strange | The Star". Retrieved 13 July 2018.

External links[edit]